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02/01/2007 07:49 AM

David Bilger's Notes on Technique

Trumpet technique can be broken down into 6 main headings: Sound (tone production), Articulation, Flexibility, Agility, Range, and Endurance. The following are ideas and examples of exercises and etudes that can be used to improve these necessary trumpet skills. Ideas about how the warm-up and practice routines will be offered later. Sound: Good tone production on the trumpet is a combination of a functional embouchure and the proper use of air. Therefore, the following examples will focus on improving embouchure strength and focus, or air flow (Or both!) 1. Long tones. Play sustained notes for at least 12 beats at quarter = 60 making sure that the tone is full and that the pitch is stable. Continue the same feeling of air flow that you got with the long tones while playing Herbert L. Clarke Technical Studies (#1-5) I call these "moving long tones", and the idea is to keep the free air flow that we achieve on regular long tones. Also look at Schlossberg Daily Drills and Gordon Systematic Approach to Daily Practice. 2. Flow Studies. These could also be called lyrical studies. Just as we talked about keeping the air flow in the above "moving long tones", playing flow studies continues to reinforce the feeling of always using enough air. Materials to use for this purpose are Stamp Warm-up Studies (also used for pedal tones), Concone Lyrical Studies, Bordogni 24 Vocalises (also used for transposition), and Cichowicz Trumpet Flow Studies (examples are in the addendum) 3. Pedal tones and lip bends. Using both pedal tones and lip bends can strengthen the embouchure. Pedal tone exercises from the Stamp Warm-up Studies and Gordon Systematic Approach to Daily Practice are a good place to start. Lip bends will be discussed in depth at the class, and examples will be found in the addendum. 4. Mouthpiece buzzing. All of the above etudes can be done on the mouthpiece alone. Mouthpiece buzzing is an important part of sound development because it forces the player to focus the notes instead of relying on the trumpet to do it for you. Page 1 of 10

a player must always concentrate on floating the tongue on a foundation of air.petrouska. Without a quick single tongue. and graduate to the Sachse 100 Etudes. 1. transposition etudes. especially articulation and range. Both are a combination of appropriate balance between the tongue and the air. and must be practiced independently of one another. Try Charlier 36 Etudes (#14. It is also one of the most overlooked.htm Page 2 of 10 . I recommend practicing major and minor scales. Goldman Practical Studies (14). The Arban book is a good starting place. chromatic scales. 2. Agility: Agility actually refers to the quickness of a player's fingers and brain. smooth triple tongue is Schlossberg Daily Drills. since it is hard work and is unrewarding in the short term. Be aware that transposition requires a constant long term investment of your time (years!). and should not be overlooked. but literally every text has a section on tonguing. since the tongue channels the air to produce the notes.Practicing 02/01/2007 07:49 AM Articulation: Articulation and response are completely interrelated. 16. 22. To improve dexterity. When working on articulation. Nothing can replace these etudes. but other materials include Colin Advanced Lip Flexibilities. The following are suggestions for exercises. Sight reading is a skill that can be practiced on a http://www. and Irons 27 Groups of Exercises. Finger dexterity is extremely important. Included in this topic will be dexterity drills. Start with the Caffarelli 100 Studi Melodici and Bordogni 24 Vocalises. Other sources of challenging finger beflders are Nagel Speed Studies and Vizzuti Advanced Etudes. Single and "K" tonguing are the basis for all articulation. and often overlooked. Lip flexibility exercises are actually "tongue level" exercises. 3. and 25). Transposition is a necessary skill for any player with professional goals. and most of the Arban book. and arpeggios right out of the Arban Complete Method. and then work on tongue position and easy tongue motion. Flexibility: Flexibility actually impacts all aspects of trumpet playing. and sight reading texts. There is no substitute for practice on articulation.

http://www. Endurance: As is the case with range. as are the Brandt Orchestral Etudes. etc. when practicing at loud dynamic levels. Some things to practice are Stamp Warm-up Studies. Gordon Systematic Approach to Daily Practice. Do not use excessive pressure D. Always use a good volume of air. or challenge yourself just for fun. Always think about what you are doing while you play 2. Sight read duets with a friend. Efficiency is a necessity for any brass player. as is Dufresne Develop Sight Reading.htm Page 3 of 10 . and never cause yourself physical pain. Range: Range (both high and low) are functions of embouchure strength. air flow. The two other things that will most quickly improve endurance are efficiency and loud practice. Also make sure not to over-adjust by playing too small or with too much pressure in the high register. Always play with your embouchure set C. They are not published. and centering. lip bends. Remember. 1. flexibility studies. flow studies. and high air speed B. and efficient playing will reduce the demands on the player. always keep your sound from distorting. but are outlined in the addendum. tongue position. Playing the trumpet is extremely physical. Playing 5 minutes of these a day will be all you need to develop the necessary strength for increased endurance. Loud practice is another part of trumpet playing that is often overlooked. Hickman Music Speed Reading is a quality text with tips on improving your skills. Do not use excessive pressure! Orchestral excerpts are a good source of loud material. Efficiency can be achieved by taking care of the following: A. Practice upper body relaxation E.Practicing 02/01/2007 07:49 AM daily basis. you can't do it--and this applies to high notes as well. and will benefit from many of the same etudes. and you have an instant text. Many exercises already discussed will increase range. Smith Top Tones. Remember. such as pedal tones. if you don't practice it. Take out any new. old or unfamiliar piece of music. Perhaps the best resource for loud playing is the Schilke Power Exercises. and Vizzuti Advanced Try practicing octave slurs while making sure to change your vowel sound from ah to eee a go from low to high.petrouska. endurance is also a combination of many of the topics we have already touched upon.

Of course further specific practice of the problem areas in your playing will be required. your metronome should always be handy. The warm-up should start you off slowly. but I have included the guide page in the addendum. I believe that Ray's book is an excellent example of how to put together a warm-up/practice book. Then I continue with Ray Mase's 10 Week Practice Routine. which I use as a "centering medicine" if I feel I need it." The metronome can help you become aware of inconsistencies in your rhythm. and also help in your training by making you practice things at more difficult tempi than are called for. Warming up is a personal thing. which is a simple compilation of technical drills from a number of sources. since it can act as both the "rhythm police" and the "practice coach. but a certain amount of all technique should be covered in the first session of the day. and learning solos and other performance pieces. which tells you how to put the book http://www. r think of the warm-up period as having two main goals. I have accomplished the first part of my warm-up.htm Page 4 of 10 . so that performances will seem easy. No matter what you are practicing. You can also put together your own book using the same principles. learning new etudes and excerpts. and the second to practice the basics of technique. By the time I have played 5 or 10 minutes of these. Sometimes I will continue with Stamp Warm-up Studies. the first being to wake up your chops (and brain). since it is a compilation of copyright materials. and everyone will heed to experiment with what works for them. but the following are some ideas and guidelines for establishing your own personal warm-up. and then move on to include the six aspects of technique as discussed earlier.Practicing 02/01/2007 07:49 AM Notes on Practicing by David Bilger The first and probably most important part of practicing is the warm-up. The book is unpublished. I like to begin with Clarke Technical Studies and Cichowicz Trumpet Flow Studies. Additional practice sessions should be dedicated to practicing weaknesses.petrouska.

makes mistakes. Reynolds 48 Etudes. Wurm 40 Studies.petrouska. and Longinotti Studies in Classical and Modern Style. Your teacher will be able to tell you what books are most appropriate for your level. regardless of the style of music or performance situation. The other advice I have on practicing is to invest time in training your ear and musical soul. correcting the slightest mishap in an unhurried. and Equipment Every type of performing situation places special and unique demands upon a performer. as well as to understand what emotions the music is trying to express. and remember that only you are responsible for how you play! Notes on Performing. Polished technique is a means. keep improving. Gates Odd Meter Etudes. Bitsch 20 Etudes. Chris Gekker (of the American Brass Quintet) wrote about practicing. and in performance. and a good way to approach them is to perfect one a week. staying loose and aggressive." Etudes should be a part of your regular practice. keep practicing. they react to any error by immediately raising their level of energy and concentration. but the very best performers do two things: they don't tolerate them in practice sessions. The best way to achieve this is to listen to all kinds of music every chance you get. and professional level players will benefit from all the books mentioned above. There are endless sources for etudes. I have identified six ways in which you can meet these demands. but some of my favorites are Arban 14 Characteristic Studies. The tuner doesn't lie. It is impossible for anyone to play in tune with another musician if they cannot play in tune with themselves. determined manner (also practicing with concentration and slowly enough so that mistakes are not learned).htm Page 5 of 10 . Recitals. Brandt Orchestral Every player needs to develop an understanding about what the trumpet's role is in each piece of music. "Every player. Charlier 36 Etudes.Practicing 02/01/2007 07:49 AM Another sidekick should be a tuner. and to experiment as an artist on your instrument. not an end. no matter how good. so that you get in the habit of playing in tune with yourself. Most of all. The following are http://www.

and style. Every good musician must listen and react to tuning. The majority of concerts that musicians participate in are planned for us. Playing with assurance results in a proper use of air and better technique. leading when appropriate. A musical actually help technique as well. This is accomplished by listening (to players other than yourself!!). The one major exception is the solo recital. but will add to your physical conditioning. 3. No matter what the genesis of the recital is. one basic question remains: How does one program for it? The following are some ideas that have helped me to come up with successful programs: http://www. 2. and is the first and best step to prevent nerves. 1. and phrasing. Practice your part. Learn the style of the the composer approach can 02/01/2007 07:49 AM skills that you must develop to achieve excellent performances.petrouska. note length. Every player should develop a few tricks that they can use to re-focus wandering attention. Recitals may be required by a university or conservatory for graduation. Concentrate at all times. We communicate with our audience through the content of the music. Play with confidence. Be reactive. Your "Chops" can learn to pace themselves for individual difficult passages. or they may be for profit or merely for fun. especially articulation. ensemble. moving your body to dictate phrasing and pacing. we must communicate with the musicians with whom we share the stage. A well deserved belief in one's abilities (combined with good preparation) will go a long way towards eliminating nervous reactions. Thorough practice not only improves your chances of hitting the right notes. Communicate with your colleagues. 4. as well as having a feeling about what was trying to say with the music. Communication is what performing is all about.htm Page 6 of 10 . and eye contact--both with other musicians and the conductor. 5. Most of the mistakes that creep in at performance time are a result of a lack of concentration. but more Importantly. 6. Every good performer understands the piece.

There http://www. it is important to define the purpose of the recital. 3. and be sure to pick music you enjoy. I would not presume to tell anyone what set-up to play 2. Select a good strong opener first. Remember that when you are changing to something new. it should always sound immediately better than your old equipment. a fee concert. Next. what kind of endurance demands they place on you.htm Page 7 of 10 . The idea of "working into it" is bunk. taking into account how the pieces flow from one to the next. per half) Opener Transition (Contrast) Concerto or Sonata INTERMISSION Concerto or Sonata Rest piece (Contrast) Closer Half Recital (35 min. their special circumstances and expectations or. First of all.e. Full Recital (30 min. Lastly I pick a few filler pieces that will provide contrast and rest. and the logistics. and pieces I should know but don't yet. placement of specialty pieces (i. 5.petrouska. and then select the major works (Sonatas or Concertos). I prefer either something a bit flashy or something for piccolo trumpet. especially if there are stage changes involved.Practicing 02/01/2007 07:49 AM 1. I always make three separate lists: pieces I already know. you can select from them to assemble a workable program. but I can give some general advice. what will you be gaining from the experience. Understand your audience. piccolo). Make a list of possible repertoire with timings of each piece. select your closer. I look for something a little lighter or a chamber music piece. if it is a student recital. total time) Opener Transition (Contrast) Major work (Sonata or Concerto) Closer Equipment is the most highly personal and controversial aspect of trumpet playing. 4. Is it educational. or merely for the enjoyment of friends and family. Once you have these lists. pieces I am learning. Write down some potential concert orders.

Here are some other ideas: 1. your dental shape. There are general tendencies in horns. Many players are getting off track by trying to play too dark and sacrificing the highs in the sound. Mutes are an often overlooked part of trumpet equipment. Cup depth and shape affect the range.petrouska. and I have found that most legit players favor this size of mouthpiece. and pitch. response. it then is no longer a true trumpet sound. I play on a Each 1 1/4 C (or 1 1/2 C or 1B).com/bilger2. 2. C. Do you require a set-up for a specific style or job. To my ear. C trumpets are generally large bore. Too shallow a cup tends to weaken the low range. Too flat or cushioned a rim will slow response. http://www. most people use medium large bore.Practicing 02/01/2007 07:49 AM may be an adjustment time. I prefer Each trumpets for Bb and C because they have a good balance between high and low overtones in the sound. 3. B. and always play for other musicians. look for quality of sound. too thin a rim will decrease endurance. Too deep a cup results in a weak high range. and take into account the amount of pressure you use. For small trumpets. Opening up the backbore and throat increase the volume and richness of the sound. The best idea is to try a wide variety of mouthpieces keeping the following in mind: A. Every serious trumpeter should own a wide variety of mutes. you can narrow your possible choices. and flat pitch. but can destroy the focus of the sound and flexibility. Most orchestral players open up their mouthpieces. but there must be some immediate improvement. sound. dead sound.htm Page 8 of 10 . Identify your needs. or do you need something more versatile? Do your chops tolerate switching equipment for different repertoire? Do you need more than one set-up to meet the demands of your playing? By answering these questions. response. and ease of high playing. The size and shape of the rim must fit your facial structure. thin out the sound. Most trumpet players spend a great deal of time (and money) selecting mouthpieces. Their ears may catch something in the sound that you cannot hear from your side of the bell. Also make sure to play your new equipment in a couple of different rooms. For Bb trumpet. 4. slow response. The weight of the bell is a matter of taste. and raise the pitch too high.

Oil. E. Try to practice etudes while keeping the timbre (the amount of buzziness) the same. Slide Grease .htm Bore L L L L L L L L L L Weight Bell Standard ? Standard Medium " " Light Heavy Standard " " Heavy " " " " Metalused Yellow Brass Yellow Brass " " " " Finish Silver Silver Gold Gold Silver " Leadpipe flair ? Moderate " Much flair Moderate " Medium " Beryllium Large Medium Large " " " Silver/ ? Gold " Silver Un Moderate " " Page 9 of 10 . There are times all of the above come in handy. Make sure to practice with your mutes.petrouska. Cleaning supplies--mouthpiece brush and snake. 5. as well as in tune ones and sharp ones. because "if you don't practice it.Practicing 02/01/2007 07:49 AM and be selective about their use. I have loud and soft straight mutes. Other accessories you should carry are: A. C. you can't play it. It also helps if you use them. I use Vaseline on my slides. B. Some are incompatible and can seriously gum up your valves. Aspirin or Advil (both for headaches and as an antiinflammatory for the chops) Principal Players and their Equipment A Survey by Philip Clark C Trumpet Brand 1 Bach 2 Bach 3 . Pencil and eraser. Make sure never to mix valve oils." 4 ." A harmon mute without the stem can also be an effective practice tool." 5 ." 6 Yamaha 7 Callet 8 Selmer (C-75) 9 Bach 10 http://www.Any non-water soluble grease will do.

com/bilger2. C 11. C 6. Bb http://www. Whatever horn is being used that day 16. C 13. C 9. Bb 8.htm Page 10 of 10 . Bb 12.petrouska. C 3. Bb & C 15. Bb or C 10. C 2. C 7.Practicing 02/01/2007 07:49 AM Bach 11 Monette 12 Bach 13 Bach 14 Monette 15 Monette 16 Bach 17 Bach L L L L L L L L Heavy Heavy Large ? " " " " " Un Un Silver " Un " ? Moderate ? Moderate Much Moderate " Standard Large Heavy Heavy Heavy Heavy Medium Large Large Medium Ambronze Gold Yellow Brass " Silver " Standard Medium Horn Used to Warm Up 1. Bb 5. ? 17. C 14. Bb 4.